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Old 14-10-2012, 00:00   #1
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Question Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

Used Boat Shopping, Is there a Rule of Thumb for Adding Up the Numbers?
I’m starting a search for my next boat, a blue water cruiser to take me from Seattle to Down Under within the next couple of years. My question is about ballpark figures for estimating costs of needed modifications to bring a used boat into seaworthy condition. Years ago I saw a great article on the “true cost” of getting a fixer-upper but I don’t recall where I saw it (I do however recall that one of the items was, “…the cost of your divorce…” and the next line was something like, “…re-read the above line and multiply by 2x”.
I lean toward a 35-40’ cutter, sloop, or yawl that sails well (short-handed at times) and is comfortable to live aboard when I get to NZ (where my wife says she will fly and join me). Some potential boats I’ve looked at (Pacific Seacraft, Tayana 37, Island Packet 35, Tashiba, Panda, Waterline 38, Ted Brewer 40…) but in my price range, all are in need of some updates/repairs. I understand there will be trade offs and items needing replacement or repair, but at what costs? So, I’m wondering if there is a list of ballpark costs that could help me quickly add up the numbers in my head while looking at prospective vessels.
I enjoy doing smaller stuff on boats but want a vessel that is already in great shape, I’m too old to invest the time and money into a “fixer-upper”. I’d like to find one where most upgrades are already done by the former owner, preferably an owner with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality. I expect that I would hire a pro to do the bigger stuff where quality and safety are essential (standing rigging, mast, rudders, engine, sails, etc., etc.). This may be my last boat so I want to get the best “H:H ratio” (Happiness : Headache Ratio) possible for under $100K ($ maybe $150K after it is all tricked out….depending on the cost)!
Cheers, Jason
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Old 14-10-2012, 02:48   #2
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

Short answer is............no (figure or percentage).

It's simply related to the condition of what you buy. So buy carefully!.........not neccessarily perfect, but in the full knowledge of what fixes / upgrades you need to do (and the cost in time and money) - whilst accepting that you never know everything before owning (but 90% instead of 10% and fingers crossed is more likely to end well!).

The worst fixer upper anyone can buy is the one they didn't know they were buying (and paid accrodingly. and will continue to).
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Old 14-10-2012, 03:54   #3
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pirate Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

If your going to buy a fixer upper the first rule is... ignore the gadgets side of the equation...
The ideal is a boat being sold by a traditional style old sailor... with a sound hull, good decks (avoid balsa cored) and reasonable rigging/sails and a well maintained engine.
A lot of boats out there are overpriced simply because they've all the gadgets... the problem is most of these are well past their use by date and will likely start crashing less than six months after you buy the boat..
My last delivery was a 12yr old steel 53ftr... by the time it got to OZ just about everything had died.. including the wheel pilot
These toys don't keep you alive... the boat does that... fancy CP's/Radar etc are just replacements for TV's...
Get the bare boat then add the 'Goodies' as and when after the important bits like suitable ground tackle etc have been installed...
That way you get the full value of the equipment... not someone else's junk...
All the best with your search....
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Old 14-10-2012, 06:04   #4
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

start by getting rid of boat "names/brands" out of your head, then get the newest boat that meets what you intend to use the boat doing the most of the time (which will diffrent than what you think you need)!
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Old 14-10-2012, 06:18   #5
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

When we started looking we knew we wanted a boat that was well maintained and cruising ready.....because that is what the owners were doing with it. I was less concerned about if the chart plotter was nearly new or if it had things I could easily add like a life raft etc. but I liked that the rigging had all been recently done, the bottom had been done, all on board systems were working and the sails were newer. The boat looked nearly new inside and out and is a well known blue water boat.
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Old 14-10-2012, 07:01   #6
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

Plus one on Boatman's post. Reread it carefully. A solidly maintained boat with good hull, deck, sails, and engine-- but without the newest electrical gadgets and cosmetic finishes-- will be at a real disadvantage as it seeks buyers. So you can probably get it for a song.

Then your upfit will be MUCH easier and less expensive.
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Old 14-10-2012, 13:00   #7
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

Anything that you will have to replace is easy to find the figures. Anything you will have to fix, well...

I would go for a very basic, very sound unit. Preferably with an engine in like new condition (or else with a dead engine so that you know you will replace it before sailing away).

Very sound, very basic unit, then go from there - replace the standing rigging, get new sails, perhaps add a wind- or/and auto, etc.

Avoid boats with plenty of systems. Old sytems always give headaches. It is way easier to add something than to fix an old and ailing systems.

Plenty of great boats around now, it is the buyers time!

b.
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Old 14-10-2012, 13:14   #8
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

I bought my boat for 40 grand.........I have spent 40 grand on top of it.......yes it now has new sails, new epoxy bottom.....new canvas and new hatches, LED lighting everywear......new pumps and stove, etc etc........it came with no electrontics.........which I will purchase as I need them..(maybe another 15 to 20 grand).........do you get the picture.

am I happy............yes because a big part of my boat is new........but I am also very tired...........

is it worth it...........I will let you know if I make it........
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Old 14-10-2012, 14:36   #9
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

if you got a 430 for 40k, it was pretty beat up
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Old 14-10-2012, 14:59   #10
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

like I said don...........I have spent 40 on it......was it beat up.....to me it was a piece of crap......

but it is a buyers market and I made the low offer 2 weeks before christmas.....(that time of year has great negotiating power.....trust me on that one).......

I dig adventure (and I am cheap).......so if people are looking for adventure, buy a boat that needs work.....if you are looking for an investment.....buy food stocks
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Old 14-10-2012, 15:41   #11
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

Make a list of what equipment you think you'll need to go cruising. Sails, rejigging, self steerimg vane, autopilot, Plotter, HF radio, epirbs, PLB, AIS, Dinghy, outboard, windlass, chain, anchor, refrigeration, Life Raft, Dodger and cruising canvas, etc, etc, etc. Some of the things I mentioned may not be important to you and can be left off and you will have other things that you'll want. Get out your out your handy dandy West Marine Catalogue, fire up Excel and list everything with the cost. If you won't be doing the installation work yourself, add at least 25% to the cost of things for installation. If a boat interests you, check it's equipment list against your list and add or subtract as fits. Then add another 25% to the cost of the boat and you may have an idea of the cost to go cruising.

If the above wscared the crap out of you, you don't necessarily need to have all the toys and whistles to go cruising. Other than a good rig, sails, , self steering, ground tackle, rowable dinghy, small GPS and the boat, the rest is nice to have but not necessary to go.
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Old 14-10-2012, 15:55   #12
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My experience has been that you need to know two numbers, 10 and 4. Take just about everything you are planning to upgrade and it will cost either 10k or 4k. How do you know which one to pick? you might ask, well once you get into it you will find it doesn't really matter. But from the start, where you are now, if you think it will be a big job pick 10 if it's small pick 4. Someone can back me up on this if they have just completed a refit, maybe RebelHeart. compare your actual cost to what you might have estimated at the start using my technique. remember he is hiring folks to get stuff done.
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Old 14-10-2012, 19:23   #13
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

On Boatmans response too. Its dead on. When I purchased my little boat the hull, engine and rigging were sound. Everything else was not. But I knew that going in. Electronics, plumbing and electrical have to be done every so often anyway. So plan accordingly.

The important bits are Hull (and deck), Good engine and good rigging mast and boom. Everything else is just niddly bit...You've got to figure that the sails, electronics etc, will need work. Even on that cruise ready boat the broker says is in A1 shape....

Oh once and a while you'll find a gem with all new bits and pieces, but for every one of those there are 1000 that need a wee bit of a refit. Actually lots that need a MAJOR refit. So buy wisely..
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Old 14-10-2012, 19:55   #14
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Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

My "new" theory is that for a given population of boats the prices are primarily affected by condition with local variance for supply and demand drivers. I have a minor background in sats and at some boat will do a project and share the results - maybe my next purchase.

So if a population has a max of $160k, a mean of $130k and a low of $40k I predict the $40k boat will need at least $90k to make it average.

There are outlier exceptions - the estate sale for example but I just don't believe that there is a lot of variation in like for like boats.

That isn't to say the 40k boat should not be purchased - it should be purchased with eyes wide open.

This theory explains why the "rules of thumb" about how much one will spend after purchase don't work.

The real rule of thumb is one will spend all their budget on a boat. If one has a $160k budget and buys an average $130k boat the buyer will likely spend $30k in upgrades to make it an exceptional boat...
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Old 14-10-2012, 20:13   #15
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pirate Re: Used Boat Shopping, Adding Up the Numbers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
if you got a 430 for 40k, it was pretty beat up

But it was/is a Hunter mate... musta been more than a coupla years old I guess...
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